A few weeks ago, Miss Universe Cebu City Chantal Elise Legaspi Schmidt’s entry for the prestigious pageant’s fashion and runway challenge went viral as she featured the oldest and the shortest national road in the country. She crossed Colon Street wearing a colorful malong textile made by fashion designer Axel Que.

Who would have ever thought that the busy street of Colon could be a beautiful and dashing runway? Her entry was so powerful that it resonated with people. They even named her walk, “the jaywalk,” just like Catriona Gray’s “lava walk” and Gazini Ganados’ “phoenix walk.”

But just so you know, Chantal and the whole team didn’t receive any tickets for jaywalking because aside from securing all the permits, they obediently followed the traffic rules, which meant they crossed the street only when the signal for pedestrians to walk went green.

Her being in the top 3 of the challenge proved that her brilliant and creative entry really left an impression on everyone including the judges.

Fun fact: Did you know that the 20-year-old candidate was one of the brains behind the concept? She chose Colon Street because “As a Cebu representative, I don’t want to highlight just the beaches, the usual. Once upon a time, Colon Street was so significant and even until now, it really is, but as if that significance has sort of waned among Cebuanos the reason why not many people will speak of Colon in a positive light. So, we really wanted to create a juxtaposition of the historical and the glamorous.”

For Chantal, the people are what make Cebu. In her much-awaited tourism video, she takes the audience on a journey showing exceptional Cebuanas and their inspiring stories, “stories that are woven and interconnected into the colorful tapestry that is our community,” she said, featuring visual artist Alreena Levy Lumapas who is known for her comics and masterpieces, Florencia Salvee who is a devotee of Cebu’s patron saint Señor Sto. Niño, and architect and visionary Jehanne Dy who is a career-driven woman in a male-dominated industry.

The storyline of her tourism video was inspired by Cebu’s very own pusô. The Cebu City representative also highlighted Barangay Duljo where she learned to weave hanging rice.

In spite of the fact that Chantal was born in Hong Kong, and had lived in quite a few places in the world including Australia, Bacolod City, Germany, and now Cebu City, she is the quintessential Cebuana who knows her city very well and by heart.

During an intimate press conference held at Seda Central Bloc, Chantal shared how she has been preparing for the upcoming coronation night that is set on April 30 including two-hour fitness training, three-hour parasela training, hair and makeup training, and “so many classes to participate in to be my own beauty queen.”

But before that, when she decided to join Miss Universe Philippines 2022—her very first pageant—she did her research, watched all of the major pageants on repeat, to the point that she made it her background music whenever she studied or worked out. She spent the lockdown and community quarantine, which was a total of two years, training herself.